Annal: 1998 Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film

Results of the Saturn Award in the year 1998.

Film:Men in Black

Men in Black

Barry Sonnenfeld

This imaginative summer comedy from director Barry Sonnenfeld (Get Shorty) is a lot of fun, largely on the strength of Will Smith’s engaging performance as the rookie partner of a secret agent (Tommy Lee Jones) assigned to keep tabs on Earth-dwelling extraterrestrials. There’s lots of comedy to spare in this bright film, some of the funniest stuff found in the margins of the major action. (A scene with Smith’s character being trounced in the distance by a huge alien while Jones questions a witness is a riot.) The inventiveness never lets up, and the…

Film:Alien Resurrection

Alien Resurrection: 4th in Alien Quadrilogy

Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Perhaps these films are like the Star Trek movies: The even-numbered episodes are the best ones. Certainly this film (directed by French stylist Jean-Pierre Jeunet) is an improvement over Alien 3, with a script that breathes exciting new life into the franchise. This chapter is set even further in the future, where scientists on a space colony have cloned both the alien and Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), who died in Alien 3; in doing so, however, they’ve mixed alien DNA with Ripley’s human chromosomes, which gives Ripley surprising power (and a…

Film:Contact (1997)

Contact

Robert Zemeckis

The opening and closing moments of Robert (Forrest Gump) Zemeckis’s Contact astonish viewers with the sort of breathtaking conceptual imagery one hardly ever sees in movies these day—each is an expression of the heroine’s lifelong quest (both spiritual and scientific) to explore the meaning of human existence through contact with extraterrestrial life. The movie begins by soaring far out into space, then returns dizzyingly to earth until all the stars in the heavens condense into the sparkle in one little girl’s eye. It ends with that same girl as…

Film:The Fifth Element

The Fifth Element

Luc Besson

Ancient curses, all-powerful monsters, shape-changing assassins, scantily-clad stewardesses, laser battles, huge explosions, a perfect woman, a malcontent hero—what more can you ask of a big-budget science fiction movie? Luc Besson’s high-octane film incorporates presidents, rock stars, and cab drivers into its peculiar plot, traversing worlds and encountering some pretty wild aliens. Bruce Willis stars as a down-and-out cabbie who must win the love of Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) to save Earth from destruction by Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman) and a dark,…

Film:The Postman (1997)

The Postman

Kevin Costner

Falling from the Oscar-winning glory of Dances with Wolves to the opposite end of the critical and box-office scale, Kevin Costner must have been deeply humbled when this three-hour postapocalyptic tale—his sophomore effort as a director—was greeted with a critical thrashing and tepid audience response. One of the most conspicuous flops of its decade, the 1997 release must have seemed like a sure thing on paper: a kind of futurist Western starring Costner as a charismatic drifter-turned-hero who leads the resistance against a military tyrant (Will Patton)…

Film:Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers

Paul Verhoeven

In the first and finest RoboCop movie, director Paul Verhoeven combined near-future science fiction with a keen sense of social satire—not to mention enough high-velocity violence to satisfy even the most voracious bloodlust. In Starship Troopers, Verhoeven and RoboCop cowriter Ed Neumeier take inspired cues from Robert Heinlein’s classic sci-fi novel to create a special-effects extravaganza that functions on multiple levels of entertainment. The film might be called “Melrose Place in Space,” with its youthful cast of handsome guys and…

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